Situations of Life: Giving Gratitude and Receiving Peace

Holiday Situations

Thanksgiving Situations - A Studio 1-37 Original ArtworkI don’t know about you, but I feel that the U.S. celebration of Thanksgiving next week, has suddenly snuck up on us. It seems like just yesterday the talk was about Labor Day and now the push of the holidays has arrived. Have you made your preparations for all the situations you will find yourself facing for Thanksgiving and beyond?

As you prepare for the food and family have you given thought to how you really see the celebration? Last year, the day after Thanksgiving, Betty walked by the bathroom door and caught her husband weighing himself on the scale. She watched as he sucked in his stomach and peered down. He kept shifting and drawing himself up until she finally said, ”That won’t help you, Fred! You do realize that, don’t you?” Fred turned to her and said, ”Oh, it helps a lot, it’s the only way I can see the numbers!”

As we prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday situations maybe it is time to shift and turn to see beyond the turkey and all the trimming. May we all recognize that expressing thanks is conducive to a successful life of peace. There is a tremendous amount of research that indicates that gratitude is vital to happiness. Of course, different people are thankful for different things as clearly seen by one young man on Thanksgiving.

Thanks for All and Then Some

The Thanksgiving holiday arrived, and the Jones family took their places around the table. They sat admiring the annual holiday bird that they had anticipated all day long. Every year from the oldest to the youngest, each family member expressed their praise and thanks. Five-year-old Joey squirmed in his seat, as he waited rather impatiently for his turn to arrive. His starring moment finally came due. While the eyes of everyone around the table focused on him, he began by looking thoughtfully at the turkey before launching into his thanks.

He gave thanks for the turkey, saying that although he had not tasted it he knew it was good. After that rather novel expression of thanksgiving, he began giving a predictable line of credits as he thanked his mother for cooking the turkey and his father for buying it. But Joey took his thanks a bit beyond that. He joined together a hidden multitude of benefactors that linked all the elements of the holiday situation with the cause and effect.

He said, ”I thank the checker at the grocery store who checked out the turkey. Thank you to the grocery store people who put it on the shelf. I thank the farmer who made it fat.” Joey went on to thank the man who made the turkey feed and those who brought the turkey to the store. Using his full detective skills, he traced that turkey all the way from its origin to his plate. As he finally wrapped his thanksgiving praise up he said, ”Did I leave anybody out?” His brother piped up and said, ”God!” Joey very seriously and without frustration said, ”I was just about to get to Him!”

Don’t Forget God

Isn’t that the question we all need to ask and not just at Thanksgiving time? Are we going to get to the one that makes life possible? So many times, we get so caught up in our situations of life that we can’t see beyond the immediate. Sometimes the immediate situation is a full celebration because good things are happening, and we get so wrapped up in the good that we forget that it is only because of God that there is good. At other times, we find ourselves being pulled down into the situations of life that are drowning us. It is here that we lose the goodness of God and fail to recognize that He is quietly waiting to give us strength and peace we so desperately desire.

Yet, He always stands ready, with His blessings of peace no matter the situations in life that we find ourselves in. We can draw upon His strength to feel His peace simply by choosing to follow Him. The holiday celebrations which should be times of joy are most often filled with stress and unpredictable life situations from both the present and the past along with the fear of the future. Amid these situations, our gratitude sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. This is a shame because we lose so much when we look to ourselves for our success or when we simply do not trust our good creator because life is spinning out of control.

In the Best and Worse of Times

It is, however, only by recognizing the goodness of God and thanking Him that we can experience peace through His strength no matter our life situations. Even in the best of celebrations, we can find ourselves stressed with unrealistic expectations or sudden upsets. This is the time to refocus and realign ourselves thanking God for His goodness, trusting in His wisdom, and relaxing in His wonderful peace. This is a thanksgiving that lasts 365 days a year and it is a thanksgiving that brings peace to all of life’s situations.

Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you His peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all. 2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NLT)

Saint Paul said and set the example of thanking God in all circumstances. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Melody Beattie, a celebrated self-help author, expressed the concept in more present-day terms. She says that ”Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.” Beattie insists that if you change your perspective you see things differently. It is this change that turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, and confusion to clarity. By being grateful for all things a meal becomes a feast, a house into a home, and a stranger into a friend. She writes that gratitude makes sense of our past, and brings peace into the present while creating a vision for the future. It is by showing this type of gratitude that St. Paul tells us is God’s will for our life.

He is Good All the Time ”“ so Thank Him!

When you are grateful in all your circumstances or situations you are grateful all the time. It is through thanking God for the good that you can experience and relax in His full peace. Making gratitude a way of life by fully giving thanks to Him, who provides every day, requires you to quickly refocus when life spins out of control. It is at this time that you need to take a moment to refresh or reset things for it is here that you will gain the peace you need to carry on no matter what the stressors are. When you look to God and depend on Him to provide, you find a relationship that includes peace. This is a peace gained through no other means for ultimate peace can only be achieved through God.

So, as the holidays move in and a New Year quickly approaches find yourself challenged to depend upon God for everything, fully recognizing that even the tiniest slivers of good come only through Him. Allow your strong convictions to trust fully in His power knowing that overwhelming peace is the result of your gratitude. It is the powerful peace of God that provides the motivation for you to depend on Him in all your life situations. It is in His arms that you find the full comfort to relax fully in His care as your relationship deepens through your gratitude to Him.

Happy Thanksgiving! And may the blessing of St. Paul extend to you and your family.

Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you His peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all. 2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NLT)

Love in Christ,

E.J.

Postscript

Thankfulness creates gratitude which generates contentment that causes peace.

Todd Stocker

Extra Study

Romans 15:33, Romans 16:20, Hebrews 13:20

Credits
Gregory, J. (n.d.). The Unlikely Thanker. (J. Gregory, Performer) Carol Stream, IL, USA.

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